Bar Tab: Sips, Barcelona

What does it take to be voted the Best Bar in the World? Let’s follow the recipe of Sips, Barcelona, crowned in October 2023. First, start with one owner with a storied past in the competition (Simone Caporale won four years in a row with The Artesian, London) and one with a background in high-end culinary techniques and sensibilities (Marc Alvarez spent eight years alongside famed Spanish culinary pioneers Albert and Ferran Adrià at the elBarri Group). Then, rework the entire concept of what a bar could be. Eradicate the boundary between customer and bartender by lowering the bar (only literally) and bringing the ‘tender out from behind the counter and on to the floor. Surround them from all sides – pull up a chair – and let a lucky few see them work up close and from all angles. Next, consider your glassware. Throw out the standard glasses. The ones that ‘compete with’ rather than ‘complement’ the drinks (Simone’s words, not mine). Instead, source your own bespoke vessels to serve drinks in. For example, the Krypta (gin, calvados and clarified kiwi) drinks best from an egg-shaped terrarium; Primordial (whisky, Port and Asian pear) can be sipped from metal-cast cupped hands. Even the simple-looking glassware should be made to your exacting designs: helter-skelter-etched for the Mil Fulls (vodka, vanilla, lemon and soda) or in the form of a trophy for Compressed (whisky, Sherry and peach). Then, embrace technology – give as much thought to the texture of your drinks as the flavour. Craft foams, espumas and gases to surprise and delight. Clarify liquids, simplify the number of ingredients and don’t take reservations (it’s 2024 after all) and a queue outside is de rigeur. Finally? Be in Barcelona. It seems to help right now. (C/ de Muntaner, 108, Barcelona. Read more Bar Tabs here.